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Loughborough University developing breath test to predict health in older people

A man breathing into a mouth piece

New research at Loughborough University aims to develop a breath test to predict when health and physical function is at risk of declining in older people.

The study, which welcomes participants aged 18 to 90, will involve simple measurements including breathing into a mouthpiece, as well as the collection of blood, saliva, and urine samples.

Researchers from the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences and School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering will look for signs of frailty – the condition where multiple bodily systems decline in older people. Frailty poses significant health risks for individuals, making them more susceptible to illness and injury.

“We believe that analysing breath samples could hold the key to unlocking valuable insights into the ageing process and identifying individuals at risk of frailty,” explains Prof Alexandra Stolzing, lead researcher and Professor of Biogerontological Engineering at Loughborough University.

“By exploring potential biomarkers present in breath, alongside other biological samples and lifestyle factors, we aim to develop predictive models that can inform personalised interventions and promote healthy ageing.”

Co-investigator Dr Katherine Brooke-Wavell, Senior lecturer in Human Biology, added: “We know that many older people have resilience to illness and injury and that early prediction of frailty or resilience is paramount for implementing targeted interventions and improving health outcomes.

“By leveraging cutting-edge technology, Loughborough University is at the forefront of research aiming to develop a non-invasive, accessible method for predicting frailty and ageing rates.

“Most importantly, this research project could help us predict when older people need more intensive support to stay healthy. We hope that taking part in the research will be an interesting and enjoyable experience.”

Additionally, participants will undergo some other health-related measurements and complete questionnaires about lifestyle, medical history, and physical function. Those aged 65 and above will be asked to return to the university for measurements to be repeated once or twice over the next year.

For more information about participating in the study please visit or contact Usiju Shaldas by email ( or phone (01509 227890).